Gawker Bird in the Garden of Dying Stars

Gawker Bird in the Garden of Dying Stars

The sun murmured stories
and hid them in her wings

Published in: on July 17, 2015 at 12:54 pm  Leave a Comment  
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The Nuthatch Driven Mad by Music

She sings arias from dead trees

She sings arias from dead trees

Published in: on July 3, 2015 at 1:08 am  Leave a Comment  
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The Holy Birds…The Guardians of Montrose Harbor

She makes of a dervish of the breeze

She makes of a dervish of the breeze

Published in: on June 23, 2015 at 11:23 pm  Leave a Comment  
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The Magic Catbird

A catbird frightened by the old whispers of a new century.

A catbird frightened by the old whispers of a new century.

Published in: on June 19, 2015 at 9:57 pm  Comments (1)  
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Basurero de Juarez

Basurero de Juarez

Basurero de Juarez

The great Charles Bowden passed away last year. He wrote a great many articles and books about the border; the one we share with Mexico. In the years since NAFTA passed there have been hundred upon hundreds of women murdered in and around Juarez–a great many of them maquiladora workers. A maquiladora is an assembly plant, or factory which hired thousands of women and paid them stoop labor wages to do piecework–sewing, circuit boards, and other close work that required small, deft hands.

A great many women from as far away as Central America flocked to the border for jobs. So NAFTA managed to impoverish two cultures. The women of the maquiladora plants and the American union worker, and some big American companies outsourced jobs here to avoid paying a living wage to union workers: Levi’s, Motorola, IBM, Black & Decker, GM, Cooper Tire, among others.

The murders started after the flood of new workers settled in and around Juarez. The powerful and ruthless Juarez cartel was blamed, as well as gangs like Los Rebeldes and La Linea Juarez. Bowden’s books, The Blood Orchid and Murder City; Ciudad Juarez, are visceral, heart-breaking testaments to a world where sanity has unraveled at a frightening pace. Still the murders are unsolved. One wonders what would happen if hundreds of blonde-haired, blue-eyed Suzy cream-cheese types were slaughtered and left for carrion birds in the desert.  The cable series, The Bridge, did a brilliant job underlining the insanity of the drug war and the culture of death endemic to both sides of the border; where traffic in drugs, humans, and cheap labor have created a culture of nihilism and despair.

It almost certainly had to be based on some of Bowden’s writings, which were poetic, and hard to read, as they were blanched of hope. This piece is about this part of the world: The border that we share and the trust we do not.

Published in: on April 28, 2015 at 11:48 pm  Leave a Comment  
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Bird for the Daughters of Juarez

Bird for the Daughters of Juarez

Published in: on April 21, 2015 at 11:07 pm  Comments (1)  
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The Rite of Spring Bird (The Rocket)

The Rite of Spring Bird (The Rocket)

Boulez’ arm dropped like a falling bird and there was music

Published in: on March 31, 2015 at 11:13 pm  Leave a Comment  
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Bird From a Crown of Knives

Bird From a Crown of Knives

Published in: on March 9, 2015 at 5:56 pm  Leave a Comment  
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Bird From a Crown of Knives

In the song, you gently built your nest in a crown of knives.

In the song, you gently built your nest in a crown of knives.

Somebody sent me a picture of this bird on Facebook. I believe its proper name is a “Silver Eared Maltesia,” which sounds like a medication you take for the clap. One often sees these birds in the Asian bird markets, where they are sold tethered to sticks as cage birds–a stupid and cruel practice which I wish would cease. In fact, I wish all trafficking in exotic birds would be outlawed. I’ve never understood the instinct of people who would cage a creature meant to fly.  It seems contrary to the creature itself, and identifies a deep and abiding cruelty.

Published in: on February 16, 2015 at 11:34 pm  Leave a Comment  
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Bird For the Green Stars (for Bobby Keys) Here You Go Neko

birdforthegreenstars
If you’d ever seen Bobby Keys, you’d never forget him; big body, face like a canned ham, sandy-grey hair, and a smile as big as Texas. He was from that part of the country where you swear there is something in the water that makes musicians–Lubbock County, which gave the world everyone from Buddy Holly to Delbert McClinton. Bobby was from Slaton Texas , a stone’s throw from the county seat in Lubbock.

I don’t know how many times and in how many incarnations I saw Bobby Keys. Of course I saw him with the Stones, his biggest platform in rock and roll. But I also got to see him with Joe Ely at the Fitzgeralds American Music Festival, playing the kind of music he was born to play and playing with musicians who shared the same hard-scrabble geography of childhood that he did.

Over the years I’d seen him play with Lloyd Maynes, Jimmie Dale Gilmore, and all manner of Texas troubadours and he was never less than a force of nature. His sound was as distinct as that of big Lee Allen; like a sonic fingerprint. He also had the Bobby Keys mythology following him around– the only guy to get kicked out of the Stones for a while after drinking a bath-tub full of Dom Perignon. There was talk that he drank it while he and two French hookers had cavorted in it, but Bobby often said he’d already drank it by the time the hookers arrived, saying “I’ve got too much respect for Dom Perignon, than to BRUISE it in such a way.”

Whenever I listen to John Lennon’s Whatever Gets You Through the Night, I always think it is the kind of song he should have written more of. All throughout this joyful stomp is Bobby Keys, off the leash and running amok and it is the aural picture of a good time. Or when I hear the Stones’ Can’t You Hear Me Knockin‘, it is Bobby’s horn playing that low, rhythmic, dirty mind kind of horn that seems to crawl up from the depths and reach into your pants. His horn provided a great percentage of the Stones suggestive and transgressive funk, grease, and dirt and I, for one, am going to miss him.

Published in: on December 12, 2014 at 4:43 pm  Comments (1)  
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La Duo Infine

blackburnianwarblerThese are actually Blackburnian warblers. They blow through here during migration. My pal, Greg, knows a place where you can see them every year in Lincoln Park.

I met with a bunch of the Chicago and Illinois Birders the other night at The Rail, a joint up on the north side. We watched the Bears get creamed and talked birds. It’s amazing to be in the company of people who know so much; where the owls will be, where this bird and that bird will be and always having to adjust estimations because of stuff like climate-change and adjust expectations accordingly. Sometimes I feel like I am WAY too late to all of thit, but these folks made me feel at ease. The only desire that is important to them is the desire to see birds, and to share in the wonder of what they magically bring into our world. I’m very grateful to be in their company and it’s wonderful to be able to learn so much new information at my age. I’m lucky.

 

Published in: on December 9, 2014 at 4:36 pm  Leave a Comment  
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Bird from a Crown of Knives

Bird from a Crown of Knives

In the song, you gently built your nest in a crown of knives.

Somebody sent me a picture of this bird on Facebook. I believe its proper name is a “Silver Eared Maltesia,” which sounds like a medication you take for the clap. One often sees these birds in the Asian bird markets, where they are sold tethered to sticks as cage birds; a stupid and cruel practice which I wish would cease. In fact, I wish all trafficking in exotic birds would be outlawed. I’ve never understood the instinct of people who would cage a creature meant to fly. It seems contrary to the creature itself, and identifies a deep and abiding cruelty.

Published in: on November 5, 2014 at 1:12 am  Comments (1)  
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Riverside Wren

Your Songs Feel Out The River Like a Blind Man

This is actually a Riverside wren, a little bird endemic to Costa Rica and Central America. It is endangered because of shrinking habitat and climate change. The State of the Bird Report from the ABA came out last month with some dire and sobering results regarding the expected extinction of hundreds of songbirds in the next decade, which will be devastating to our ecosystem and a grim reminder of what “progress” has robbed us of. . .

Published in: on October 29, 2014 at 11:42 pm  Leave a Comment  
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Bird for Cuba

Bird for Cuba

Published in: on October 8, 2014 at 12:15 am  Comments (2)  
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Bird for Israel

bird for israel

She flies from Tel Aviv to the wall, moving the silences tree to tree

Published in: on August 27, 2014 at 10:48 am  Comments (1)  
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